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Despite admitting that McLaren dominated the Australian Grand Prix weekend, sealing pole position, the race victory and fastest lap, Jenson Button claims such a stylish performance was not expected so early in the season.
Victory marked the second time Button had won a season-opening race and his third win on the streets of Albert Park, after 2009 for Brawn and 2010 with McLaren. He now tops the championship standings for the first time in almost two years.
“After the race, people asked me if we’d expected to demonstrate the pace that we did in Australia, and I tell them that it was unexpected,” the 2009 Champion said on Wednesday.
“Of course, we’d done our sums after testing, but you can never be certain whether another team is running with high-fuel or hiding their true pace. So to come away from Race 1 with such a positive result – is a huge relief for the organisation.
“But it’s also incredibly motivating; we know we have a great car but we’re not going to sit still with it. We have ambitious plans to develop the car and I know that everybody back at Woking is working hard to bring new components to the track and that all our mechanics and engineers are flat-out to ensure that we maximise the package that we have this weekend.”
Malaysia holds a mixture of good and bad memories for Button. In 2002, he lost a career-first podium finish when his ailing Renault was passed by Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari on the last lap; a year later, he lost two places on the final tour when he his BAR was overhauled by both Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. A first F1 rostrum result finally came in 2004, behind Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya.
Further feelings from McLaren on Wednesday:
Clutch problem hampered Hamilton’s Melbourne start
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